The majority of Muslim women in New Zealand are migrants or refugees and who have issues integrating into wider New Zealand society. Refugees are not here by their own choice and are unable to return to their country of origin. Even migrant families sacrifice much financially and emotionally when moving to a new country. For many of them, it is also not a viable option to return to their country of origin.
One of the problems of migration is that women lose their social support networks. In their countries of origin, these women often live in extended families or have strong family ties. However, that support is not available in their new country. Added to this are financial pressures and high unemployment, which means that these women are at significantly more risk of domestic violence.
Service providers often misunderstand the cultural issues and requirements including spiritual support of Muslim women requiring assistance and support in cases of domestic violence. Even services which exist for ethnic minority communities have been known to pressure Muslim to stop wearing a headscarf or to leave their religion altogether. This creates a significant barrier in women being able to access the help they need.
Established in 2009
The idea of starting such an organisation came about from an increased demand on the need for support and guidance based on Islamic values, in a family crisis. It was evident that Muslim women impacted by a family crisis were at a disadvantage when seeking assistance due to Socio, cultural & language barriers. Hence in many instances the fear of the unknown prevented such women from seeking timely help to resolve their family disputes. Initial gaps were identified to address the needs of isolated women with children in South Auckland and to undertake humanitarian relief work in this area.
Fatimah Foundation was founded with the objective of providing family assistance to Islamic mothers and homes (FATIMAH). Based in South Auckland, Fatimah Foundation offers a service based on Islamic values and principles. This service is open to everyone and is designed to help minority – Multi-ethnic Muslim communities who are struggling to integrate into New Zealand society and systems. Fatimah Foundation provides a culturally sensitive service with a special focus on strengthening families & preventing violence in Muslim homes.
Due to increased service demand from Muslim families, with social concerns involving youth, the elderly, domestic violence, abuse, family hardship, and family court, The Fatimah Foundation has extended its services to be inclusive.